Heidelberg University announced Wednesday that men’s and women’s swimming is returning to the Division III school in Ohio for the first time in four decades starting during the 2023-24 season.
Heidelberg will be the sixth member of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) to sponsor swimming. Defending conference champion John Carroll had its men’s team place 13th at the 2022 NCAA Division III Championships. Founded in 1902, the OAC is the third-oldest athletic conference in the country.
The Student Princes (yes, that’s their mascot) last competed at the varsity level back in the early 1980s. Both the men’s and women’s teams will train at the Tiffin YMCA.
“Men’s and women’s swimming will fit in well here with the proximity to an already existing high-quality facility and the number of schools in and around the area that already sponsor the sport,” said Heidelberg athletic director Greg Cooper. “The access to excellent competition was also a factor as it is an OAC-sponsored sport.”
The addition follows a recent trend of swimming’s growth primarily at the Division II, Division III, and NAIA levels. Along with swimming, Heidelberg is also adding a co-ed esports program to bring its total number of varsity teams to 23.
“We are excited to welcome three new teams and two new sports to Heidelberg,” Cooper said. “Our administration has identified these sports as opportunities for strategic growth for the university.”
Heidelberg intends to hire head coaches for each new sport this summer to help establish the new programs. Interested candidates can apply here.
A private university affiliated with the United Church of Christ, Heidelberg has an undergraduate student enrollment of about 1,000.